Ministers are poised to call for the EU to postpone the plan to scrap daylight saving time to 2021, according to a draft text prepared by the Austrian presidency and obtained by POLITICO.
The shift follows pressure from countries including Portugal, Greece and the Netherlands to maintain the clock change or provide more information to justify scrapping the twice-yearly shift.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker set out legislation to end the clock change in September and gave countries an April 2019 deadline to decide their future time arrangements.
“Evidence is not conclusive as to whether the benefits of summer-time arrangements outweigh the inconveniences linked to a biannual change of time,” the presidency states.
Countries that support keeping the current system do so “mainly due to the lack of plausible available evidence regarding the possible benefits that the abolition of time changes could bring about,” it added.
The progress report, to be discussed by transport ministers on Monday, calls for a 2026 review of how the move to a year-round standard time is working out.
Countries have until the end of Tuesday to object to the presidencys text.
Several countries are planning to carry out national consultations to decide whether to move to permanent summer or endless winter time. The text calls for more work from the Commission to outline the impacts of its proposal.
An EU consultation saw a majority of the 4.6 million respondents back the move to scrap the clock-change, an EU standard since 1996. Countries including Finland and Estonia remain strongly in favor of the Commissions plan.